Windows Mobile is the latest name for the Microsoft Windows operating system targeted at Mobile Devices. Previously this OS was called PocketPC and some implementations may still call their version with this name. It is a particular implementation of a more generic operating system from Microsoft called Windows CE (also known as WinCE) and in fact it is built on top the a version of Windows CE.
The PocketPC (PPC) platform is a hardware and software configuration that includes Windows Mobile OS as firmware in the machine. There are various versions of this OS depending on what extra applications are included. Most of these devices include a copy of Microsoft Reader which can be used to read LIT eBooks. If a copy is not built in a version can be freely downloaded from the Microsoft web site to install on the device. Unfortunately the latest version (6.0) of Windows Mobile does not support this reader.
- PocketPC 2000 was the first release of this OS. It is built on version 3.0 of WinCE and was available on 3 different cpu configurations. Screens were always portrait mode with 240 x 320 pixel resolution. A touch screen was required and must the the primary support user input method.
- PocketPC 2002 was also built on version 3.0 of WinCE but simplified the hardware by only supporting ARM compatible CPU's. The Microsoft Reader version 2.4 is the last version to support this platform.
- Windows Mobile 2003 was built on version 4.2 of WinCE which added .net support. It released with version 2.2.1 of Microsoft Reader but can be updated to the latest version.
- Windows Mobile 2003 SE (Second Edition) added landscape mode support and offered additional screen resolutions of 240 x 240 and 640 x480 in some hardware configurations.
- Windows Mobile 5.0 is built on WinCE version 5.0. Microsoft Reader 2.4.1 was shipped on this platform.
- Windows Mobile 6.0 is built also on WinCE version 5.0 and will not support the Microsoft Reader.
- Windows Mobile 7.0 is built on WinCE 6.0
- Windows 8 has an RT version that supports ARM but integrates regular Windows 8 features. The Windows phone OS is also a variant of Windows 8.
A key feature of Windows Mobile is the ability to share PIM (Personal Information Management) data between a PC running Windows and the PDA. This is done via ActiveSync on Windows XP and earlier and via WMDC, Windows Mobile Device Center on PCs running Vista. PIM data includes an Address Book (contacts), Personal Calendar, ToDo list, and Notes. These are sync'd to Outlook on a PC. ActiveSync or WMDC can also be used to manage multimedia contact via Windows Media Player.
Windows Mobile includes applications to work with some Microsoft Office files although the native formats for the WM versions generally have less features. These include Pocket Word and Pocket Excel.
Smartphone is a generic term that is used to identify cell phones that have additional capability in the underlying OS to perform tasks that are not particularly cell-phone related. Microsoft used the term to apply to its version of the PocketPC OS that could be used on a device that does not have a touch screen. Touch Screen versions of cell phones may be called smartphones but they do not use the special Smartphone version of Windows Mobile, but use the regular version. The latest name for the Smartphone version is Windows phone 7, however, even this has recently been superseded with Windows 8 RT version.
Originally the term was applied to PocketPC 2000 and 2002 devices but in the Windows Mobile version it was more precisely defined to identify a specific version of the OS that did not depend on a touch screen and generally had a smaller screen with only 176x220 pixel resolution.
There is a new device called the REDFLY that is designed to overcome the small display and phone size by providing an external display and keyboard/touchpad mouse.
Lately the term PocketPC has fallen out of favor on smart phone and had been replaced with Windows Mobile Professional Edition and is used increasingly on devices with or without touch screens. All of the WinCE based versions are now obsolete with the introduction of the Windows 8 RT version called Windows phone.
 Windows CE
As mentioned previously Windows CE is the underlying OS of all PocketPC and Windows Mobile devices. However, it is also used as an OS on some Palmtop and other specialized portable devices. These devices may or may not include a keyboard and may have various screen sizes, screen resolutions, and screen orientations. In some cases Windows CE is used as an embedded OS which means that it may be completely hidden underneath the device user interface and not available for the user to use directly. It is known to be used in some automotive systems, some GPS devices, and many other implementations. It was used in the Bookeen Cybook Gen1 eBook reader.
As an OS it can run general purpose programs including eBook reading programs but not necessarily all of them. As a rule of thumb a WinCE compatible program is likely to run on a Window Mobile device but the reverse is not true. Window Mobile programs will often require OS components that are not typically available on Windows CE devices. However, Windows Mobile application support can be improved by adding so called fake dlls. In particular the Microsoft Reader will not work on some implementations of Windows CE.
The major versions of WinCE include
- WinCE 1.0 - First release, used on a few Palmtop devices.
- WinCE 2.0 - First commercially successful version used on Palmtop units
- WinCE 2.11 - Last version 2 product, widely used.
- WinCE 3.0 - Stable version used on Pocket PC 2000 and 2002 PDAs, and Handheld PC 2000 Palmtop units
- WinCE 4.0, 4.1 - Used in various embedded devices like DoTel 300 PDA or Sigmarion 3 palmtop, never used in Windows Mobile platform release
- WinCE 4.2 - Windows Mobile 2003, 2003SE. (CE.NET)
- WinCE 5.0 - Windows Mobile 5.0, 6.0 (CE 5.0)
- WinCE 6.0 - Windows Mobile 7.0 (unconfirmed), Zune HD
Beginning with version 2.0 Windows CE could be custom configured so it is difficult to identify a set of features that are available on a particular version. In general there is a core version and a professional version. The Pro version includes applications like the Internet Explorer CE web browser, Media Player and Microsoft Document viewers as well as others. Support for syncing ActiveSync PIM databases may not be supported in some core implementations but most will allow access to the device memory via a PC's a USB connection. Supported features depend on what OS components the manufacturer decided to ship with the device.
Replaced with Windows phone.
 For more information
See eBook software for programs that will work on this platform.